Trinity’s purpose as a fellowship of believers is to help people experience and sustain a faithful relationship with God and each other through worship and service. Trinity’s purpose as a center for outreach is to practice and sponsor religionless Christianity in our inner-city neighborhood.
In our Youtube video, Jane Costlow described our outreach ministries, “the programs themselves do not have a religious component. They are simply programs that try to help people with their problems without any kind of religious preaching.” Should they have a religious component? How are we any different from a social service agency if there is no overt religious appeal? We conduct outreach ministries in an expressly non religious way. It separates us from a “marketing approach” to church growth; we are not selling our brand of church or manipulating people who need help to become Christians. Many Evangelical Christians are convinced that they must speak, persuade, convince, even threaten people with eternal damnation to “lead” people to the Lord. Trinity Church’s motivation and purpose in community involvement, social action, and outreach are hospitality and compassion.
We offer and sponsor ‘religionless’ Christian programs. In Mark 12.33, Jesus said that loving your neighbor is more important than religion. In 1932, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that religion (the institution) had already become so corrupted and co-opted by government, and by wealthy and powerful forces that it was then (and is now) incapable of the Gospel love that Jesus lived and expressed in action.
Bonhoeffer described religionless Christianity as having two parts: an inner fellowship of praying believers who gather as we do to worship, to confess, to celebrate, to sing, to receive from one another and from Christ– all for the purpose of holiness, of surrendering all of our lives to the care and guidance of God’s indwelling Spirit, so that we can live in the world, loving and serving the needs of all people. Inside the church we speak to God and to one another; Outside the church, the other part is the world where we live. Here our lives must do the talking.
As St Francis so wonderfully expressed it, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary use words.” In his Epistle, James wrote, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” … “I’ll show you my faith by my deeds.” Actions do speak louder than words.
We live, embody, the radical hospitality of God; the humble act of sacrifice, and compassionate love from the heart of God for all people. Only action can carry this message; our action, supported by the inner part, the fellowship of prayer and worship.
Outreach in the Community
Trinity is located in a diverse, low income inner city neighborhood. While other mainline churches nearby have closed, Trinity has stayed and made a commitment to doing what we could for the benefit of our neighbors. Three local non-profits were birthed at Trinity and although they are now independent organizations, we continue to be involved as ministry partners.
The Jubilee Center– A soup kitchen, food pantry and social service agency that is still located in our undercroft. It serves those who fall through the social services net elsewhere and includes support for the refugee population in the area.
The Center for Wisdom’s Women – A weekday drop-in Center for women, located about one block away.
Tree Street Youth – An after school and summer leadership, learning and enrichment program for area youth.
Trinity also has a Bereavement Ministry – Spiritual support at the time of death of a loved one, for anyone in the neighborhood who does not have a church home. This can include a memorial service and burial of ashes in the parish memorial garden. Click HERE for more information.